A long-established Italian restaurant has revealed its new look following a facelift.

Da Sandro Pizzeria and Restaurant on Halifax Road, Birchencliffe, has been a popular venue for families and business diners since it first opened in 1981.

Now directors of the family-run business have welcomed back customers after a six-week refit which aimed to update the look of the restaurant while retaining its warm, welcoming ambience.

Director Lidia Shinwell said the directors opted for a “soft” opening rather than a VIP event, adding: “Having been established for 37 years, all our customers are VIPs. How do you draw up a guest list for one evening?”

Da Sandro resturant, Halifax Rd, Birchencliffe reopen after refurbishment.

She said Lancashire-based contractor Thompsons had worked evenings and weekends to meet the six-week target, adding: “We are very pleased with the effect. We think it has achieved exactly what we were hoping for.”

The new look includes rustic oak beams and an oak floor, new lighting including wall lighting, a new log-burning pizza oven and dessert area and an extended bar.

The bar area has new furniture while outside the restaurant has been given a new coat of paint and new awnings softened by hanging baskets.

Lidia added: “It was a very difficult decision to change things because many of our customers like Da Sandro as it was.

"We thought we should invest in the restaurant – and our customers – for the future.

“We wanted to keep that traditional welcoming feel of an Italian restaurant. We have a lot of families and we wanted them to feel welcome when they come.

Da Sandro resturant, Halifax Rd, Birchencliffe reopen after refurbishment.

"We hope families will like it, but we also hope to attract people who may want to come in for a cocktail.”

She said head chef Franco Zoppi, restaurant manager Enrico Deriu and the restaurant’s 70 staff couldn’t wait to welcome diners to the new-look venue.

Lidia said the company had made a “considerable” investment in the restaurant revamp to create “an enhanced dining experience.”

During the work the company operated a pop-up restaurant at the Briar Court Hotel offering staying guests and non-guests a selection of Italian dishes.

She said the restaurant, which has 140 covers, would continue to offer its familiar menu of authentic Italian food, including pizzas, seafood steaks, meat dishes and pastas as well as salads and desserts – with the occasional “tweak”.

Da Sandro resturant, Halifax Rd, Birchencliffe reopen after refurbishment. Executive Chef, Franco Zoppi and Resturant Manager, Enrico Deriu (right).

Da Sandro was established by the late Marino Bevilacqua and his son Sandro, who is Lidia’s brother.

Marino came to the UK in 1950 as a penniless 18-year-old to work in the mines in Wales.

He went on to employ hundreds of people through his various businesses, including importer and distributor Continental Wine & Food, Prego Italian Restaurant and the Waterfront Hotel in Brighouse as well as the Briar Court Hotel.